When was the last time you got a do-over? Maybe you took a mulligan in your last game of golf, or you had the chance to revamp a project at work for better results. Unfortunately, financial mulligans are few and far between, and are almost nonexistent when it comes to retirement. When the topic of life after a 9-to-5 comes up, most people immediately think of their slim savings for retirement. While we should probably all be saving more for our golden years, money isn’t the only thing to plan for to have an enjoyable retirement.
The average American is feeling more confident about their ability to afford a comfortable retirement, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey. However, only 21% of respondents were “very confident” their savings would be enough to cover their expenses after they left the workforce for the golf course. Growing confidence is great, especially after record lows during the Great Recession. But that doesn’t change the fact that the luster of the so-called golden years fades quickly when retirement isn’t quite as rosy as it was portrayed to be.
While retirement is supposed to be a relaxing reward after decades of work, it can only become that if you put in some planning ahead of time. No matter how far away that retirement date seems, it pays to be thinking about these 13 things now.
1. Not saving enough money
It’s likely the most obvious factor, but also the most vital. If you haven’t saved enough money for retirement, everything else becomes much more difficult. It used to be that saving $1 million was a benchmark for a comfortable post-work life, but most experts will say that might not be enough anymore. However, it’s also true that many people enjoy their lives while saving less than that figure. The truth is, only you can determine how much you’ll need to save for your own retirement.
To do that, however, you do need to know the facts and have a plan to face them. For instance, you’ll need to save much more than you have in the past for health care costs, which are only likely to increase in future years. By some estimates, most retirees will need at least $220,000 to cover medical expenses if they retire at age 65. You might lead a relatively healthy lifestyle, but that can change much faster as you get older.
Saving for the unexpected takes many forms, and isn’t just related to medical care. As in all of life, retirement savings should also include a healthy emergency savings fund to cover any type of financial pitfall. “A well-constructed plan, whether with advice of a professional or not, needs to account for success, as well as challenges and failures,” Tash Elwyn, president of Raymond James & Associates, told USA Today.